Other Names: Ohinemuri
District: Coromandel Peninsula
Commodities :   Gold, Silver

The Karangahake Goldfield lies approximately 60 km south-east of Auckland in the Coromandel Peninsula of North Island, New Zealand. The goldfields of Coromandel and Thames opened in 1852 and 1867 respectively, but it was not until March 1875 that gold was mined from the Karangahake area. The underground quartz lodes had to be mined, crushed and treated before the gold could be extracted. However, transport difficulties, a lack of capital and gold in payable quantities, and the very fine grained nature of the gold led to the collapse of many early companies. 

A major breakthrough occurred in 1889 with the introduction of the McArthur-Forrest cyanide process at the Crown Battery at Karangahake in 1889 for extracting gold from quartz, which enabled a dramatic increase in gold recovery. This was the world’s first commercial use of cyanide solution to recover gold. Three large 40-stamp batteries were built at Karangahake in the 1890s - the Crown, Talisman and Woodstock - for the treatment of ore taken from extensive mine networks inside Karangahake Mountain.

Output from the Karangahake quartz mines in 1909 made up 60% of the total gold produced in New Zealand. Between 1910 and 1920, however, many of the mines declined as costs of gold recovery began to outweigh profits. The main batteries at Karangahake closed down and were demolished. The historic workings of the Talisman Mine lie almost directly beneath the prominent peak of Karangahake. The Talisman Mine has produced one million ounces of gold and three of silver and is part of a 3.7 km long mineralised system. In an underground drilling program in 2004-05, Heritage Gold measured 205,000 ounces gold in JORC-compliant resources in a small section of the Talisman Mine.

(Source: Heritage Gold NZ Ltd, 2006)

DM Sample Photographs